Following Gov. Eric Greitens’ request for a restraining order against fellow Republican and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, some Missouri legislators are choosing sides.
Court filings show that the embattled governor issued the request on Monday, a day before Hawley stole the headlines with his press conference announcing that his office possessed evidence of “criminal wrongdoing” by Greitens regarding the charity he started, The Mission Continues.
Greitens’ defense attorney’s also asked Hawley to recuse himself Monday from investigating The Mission Continues, with defense attorney Ed Dowd saying, “He (Hawley) has predetermined the guilt of his own investigative target and his investigation now is clearly compromised.”
Greitens is requesting a temporary restraining order to block Hawley’s “investigation into Governor Eric Greitens, the governor’s office, or any entities with which Greitens is or has been associated,” according to court documents.
In a letter sent to fellow Republican representatives dated Tuesday, Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, urged those in Jefferson City to support Hawley in his investigation and heavily criticized some of Dowd’s comments.
“I firmly believe there that our governor, despite what you may think of him thus far, may be getting some biased legal advice from his attorney, Ed Dowd, who dared to impugn the integrity of Attorney General Josh Hawley,” Schroer said in the letter. “As an attorney, I can assure you that our Attorney General is going about his position and investigation in a legally sound, non-biased manner. Simply calling into question Mr. Hawley’s integrity not only makes the Governor look worse-off, it attempts to trample on the respected institution of the practice of the law and cast doubt on what our AG is going to unveil.”
Schroer went on to criticize Dowd for being “a partisan Democrat”. In the letter, Schroer said Dowd gave $4,700 directly to U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill in 2017 and another $2,700 to her “Victory Fund”.
“Now he’s going after the candidate who will unseat her in 2018,” Schroer said of Dowd.
“I know that Attorney General Hawley is committed to the law and will handle his investigation into the governor’s nonprofit properly, and I think that the letter Ed Dowd released to the press is crossing the line,” Schroer said. “It is unacceptable for the governor to attack the attorney general or question his ability to do his job impartially.”
Hawley’s official spokeswoman, Mary Compton, called Greitens’ request “frivolous” and said the attorney general’s office would argue against the motion.
“The attorney general called for the governor’s resignation because the House Investigative Committee reported substantial evidence of sexual, violent misconduct by the governor,” Compton said. “The investigation into The Mission Continues addresses an entirely separate matter. The fact that the governor has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct does not mean he is exempt from investigation into other wrongdoing.”
Greitens is accused of allegedly taking a picture of a bound and partially nude woman with whom he was having an affair with at the time and threatened to blackmail her if she made the affair public.
During his press conference Tuesday, Hawley said his office turned over the evidence of Greitens’ potential felony violation in regards to the Mission Continues to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner since the alleged crime occurred in the city of St. Louis. Ultimately, the decision to charge Greitens with another crime would fall in the hands of Gardner, who is also prosecuting the Republican governor in the felony invasion of privacy case.